This week has been one of the best, most relaxing weeks I've experienced in months. This semester has been my busiest ever. First I had my Fulbright application to deal with in september and october. That application was a nightmare. Then I had to start work on prescreening tapes and grad school applications. Those aren't so bad, but they are tedious. Now, with my graduation recital looming on the horizon (December 16th), practicing is getting more and more stressful. Tomorrow, I fly back to New York and all of that craziness, but for now I get to enjoy my fourth day of relaxation, family, good food, and warm weather.
Thanksgiving day was wonderful. I stuffed myself with turkey, cranberry sauce, and cherry pie. My family sang happy birthday to me and I got to open some awesome birthday presents (including the camera with which I took pictures for this post), despite the fact that my birthday doesn't happen until next wednesday. Then, I took advantage of my food coma and slept the entire 3 hour car ride home!
Yesterday, my parents and I had my previous violin teacher, Mr. Goldsmith, over for a late afternoon cheese and wine fest. My mom and I decided to bake something to eat in addition to cheese and crackers. We went with Mexican Wedding Cookies because they're my mom's favourite cookie recipe. I had eaten and enjoyed them before but I had never helped to make them.
These were surprisingly easy to make, and they were delicious. They were definitely a hit. I can't wait to make them for my friends in new york!
Mexican Wedding Cookies
recipe from the San Francisco Chronicle
Yield: 33-35 cookies
1 cup pecans, toasted
2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
pinch of salt
1 cup unsalted butter, slightly softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar placed in sifter for dusting cookies
Place toasted nuts, 1 cup flour, and salt into the bowl of a food processor.
Pulse lightly. The nuts don't need to be really fine. I pulsed it until it was just smaller chunks of pecans.
In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and the powdered sugar until well combined. Then add the vanilla and almond extracts. Beat just to mix and then begin adding the flour and nut mixture by 1/2 cupfuls.
Blend in the remaining 1 cup flour and mix just until a dough is formed.
Cover the dough with plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Place walnut-size pieces of dough on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake the cookies for about 18 minutes, or until the edges are golden. Then, cool on a rack for 10 minutes.
Dust a sheet of waxed paper with powdered sugar. Place the cookies on top of the sugar and sift more powdered sugar over them. Let the cookies cool some more before storing them.